Tag Archives: soup

Malaysian Coconut Noodle Soup

Happy Friday everyone! And to all our friends over in the USA, Happy Fourth of July! I hope you’re having a fantastic extended weekend

Today, I thought I’d share one of our all-time favourite noodle soups. It’s my family-friendly vegan take on Malaysian Laksa Lemak. This dish usually contains a fair amount of spice, but I’ve toned down the heat to make it suitable for youngsters (and lightweights like me!) It makes a great weekend lunch or light weekday meal.

Malaysian Coconut Noodle Soup

While you wouldn’t normally expect to see smoked tofu in this dish, I find the flavour works beautifully with the fragrant spiced gravy. I use Cauldron’s Organic Smoked Tofu (which you’ll find in the chiller cabinets in most of the UK’s major supermarkets). Its smoky flavour is very mild which suits Lil’ L (other brands have been ‘too smoky’ for him). If the smoky flavour isn’t your thing, feel free to substitute with sesame tofu or your own marinated tofu.

Caudron Smoked Tofu

If you want to keep the dish gluten-free, go for a brown rice noodle rather than wholewheat. One of my current favourite organic noodle brands is King Soba, which is currently available in the UK from independent health food shops and online. They cost £1.89 for 250g, which is a good price for organic noodles. If you can’t find them locally, you can buy them directly from King Soba, and they offer free delivery when you order six packs.

King Soba Noodles

 

Malaysian Coconut Noodle Soup

This recipe was featured in the latest issue of Fresh Vegan. Launched just a few months ago, this digital magazine has already gathered a huge following. It was recently nominated in the VegfestUK’s best publication awards, alongside well established magazines such as Vegetarian Living, so a huge well done to the FV team

What I love about Fresh Vegan (and what sets it apart from other food magazines) is the diversity of its features. It includes restaurant and product reviews, travel features, interviews and much, much more. If you’re interested in hearing the ethos behind the magazine, there’s a great interview with its creators over at HappyCow.net.

Fresh Vegan June 2014 Issue

 

Have you got any plans for the weekend? I’m really excited about the Tour de France, which starts tomorrow in Leeds (UK) no less! It’s my favourite sporting event of the year. And of course we still have the World Cup and Wimbledon. In between watching all this sport, I’m looking forward to heading out on my bike. A little bit of tennis (or ‘bat and ball’ in my case) might be in order too. Whatever you’re up to, enjoy! xx

 

 

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Filed under Dinners, Lunches & Light Dinners

Curried Vegetable & Lentil Soup

A big thank you to everyone that’s been entering my giveaways! I love hosting giveaways on my blog so make sure you keep those entries coming… the more popular the giveaways are, the more likely it is that companies will offer me more great stuff to give away in the future 🙂

I’d like to take this opportunity to congratulate the lucky winners of two recent giveaways…

Simona, winner of Joni Marie Newman & Celine Steen’s Home-Cooked Vegan Comfort Food

and

Susie W, winner of Chris & Carolyn Caldicott’s World Food Cafe Quick and Easy

The giveaway for Kathy Hester’s Vegan Slow Cooking For Two -or- Just for You is open until 31st October, so there’s still plenty of time to enter. This is the book that encouraged me to buy a slow cooker and I’m so pleased that I took the plunge! I’ve used it loads already for cooking main meals, large batches of beans, scrumptious rice puddings (a childhood favourite of mine!) and, of course, Kathy’s amazing Pumpkin Coconut Caramel Sauce.

I’ve thoroughly enjoyed reading all your comments under the giveaway entries. I love the sound of so many of the foods that you’ve tried during your travels. We should definitely try and re-create them! I’ve also loved reading all about your favourite comfort foods. Curry and soups were popular responses, and I’m with you on those!

Now that the weather’s taken a turn for the worse here in the UK, I can feel the shift towards ‘comfort food’ mode in my cooking, and curries and soups are making weekly appearances on our table in one form or another. One of my current favourite dishes is a lightly curried vegetable and lentil soup. I think I’ve made this soup three times in as many weeks! We’ve been enjoying it at weekends, either for Saturday lunch or Sunday supper. I’ve been having the spare portions for lunch during the week, while Lil’ L’s been taking a flask of soup with him to school 🙂

Lightly Curred Vegetable and Lentil Soup 2 - 500 copy

As well as tasting yummy, this soup is packed to the brim with antioxidants, vitamins and minerals. The addition of lentils also gives the soup a great iron and protein boost.

It’s a very filling soup, so it can easily be served as a main meal, alongside some chunky pieces of wholegrain bread or warm garlic bread.

Here’s how we make it:

 

Lightly Curred Vegetable and Lentil Soup 1 - 500 copy

This recipe has been shared at Ricki Heller’s Wellness Weekend.

Over the past couple of years, I’ve posted a number of family-favourite soup recipes. Now that we’re in ‘soup season’ I thought I’d collate the recipes to make them easier to find. I’ve added a dedicated ‘Soups‘ page to the blog, which can be accessed via the Recipes page.

Next on my ‘to try’ list is a slow-cooked minestrone soup. I’ve seen some really cute wholegrain mini pasta stars in my local health food store that I’m dying to try out 🙂 Have you been making any soups lately? What’s your all-time favourite soup?

 

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Filed under Lunches & Light Dinners, Soups

Nettle Soup with Ginger and Miso

Well, I haven’t had any success growing vegetables in my garden yet, but I have an abundance of nettles that are happily growing there 😉

Nettles

What many people don’t realise is that nettles are actually a ‘super food’, packed to the brim with nutrients.

“High in potassium, iron, sulphur, vitamin C, vitamin A and B complex vitamins nettles provide a high amount of dense nutrition with very little calories. The sulphur makes them great for the hair, skin, and nails. In addition, the tiny hairs, besides emitting histamine, also release serotonin and acetylcholine, two neurotransmitters that help to suppress appetite and also settle mood. Finally, nettles have gentle diuretic properties, which help relieve water weight gain, flush the body of toxins, and purify the blood”. [Source

 

Obviously you can’t eat nettles raw (unless you want to sting your mouth to pieces) but, by simply drenching them in boiling hot water, their sting is instantly removed and then they can be eaten just like other greens.

Nettle Leaf

One of our favourite ways to eat nettles is blended into a soup, flavoured with onion, garlic, ginger and miso.  We also like to include a large sweet potato in the soup, which adds a touch of sweetness as well as giving the soup a beautiful, silky smooth texture.

Just in case you haven’t come across miso before, it’s a Japanese soybean paste that has this wonderful, rich savory flavour that makes it perfect for soups, sauces and gravies.  I’m currently using the Clearspring Japanese Organic Brown Rice Miso, which is available in the UK in Waitrose and Sainsbury supermarkets, as well as in health food stores. While the jar recommends that you store it in a cool, dark place, I keep my jar in the fridge and it’s lasted months!

Clearspring Brown Rice Miso

If you’ve never picked nettles before, here are a few tips:

  • Make sure you’re wearing gloves, a long sleeve top and trousers (long pants).
  • Use a pair of sharp scissors to snip off the top leaves from each stalk (about four leaves per stalk).  Before snipping, check the leaf to make sure there are no creatures or caterpillar eggs on it.
  • Place the leaves in a colander and thoroughly wash them under running water (remember to keep your gloves on).
  • If you’re using the nettles in a soup, there’s no need to soak them in boiling water first.  Simply chop them up (still wearing your gloves) and add them to the pan.

Nettle Leaves

If you’re not fortunate enough to have a patch of free nettles growing in your vicinity, you can replace them with another green, such as kale or chard.  It’ll taste just as nice 😉

Nettle Soup with Ginger & Miso

While it’s not the prettiest soup in the world, it tastes delicious!  Lil’ L can vouch for this.  It’s his current favourite soup, and he loves taking a flask to school for his lunch once a week.  In fact, last week, he asked if he could have it for his lunch two days on the trot.  I really hope other children enjoy it as much as he does!

Here’s the recipe:

Nettle Soup with Ginger & Miso

In addition to the nettles, we’ve had great success growing dandelions this year.  Dandelion pesto will be on the menu next week 😉

Have a wonderful weekend everyone! xx

Are there any ‘weeds’ that you enjoy eating?  If you have any family recipes, please do share below 🙂

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Filed under Lunches & Light Dinners, The Garden

#WIAW Going Green: Watercress and Leek Soup & I ♥ Edamame Beans

Last Wednesday I was all set to publish a post on my current favourite lunches, including this beautiful Sweet Beet Soup

Sweet Beet Soup

and this yummy wrap…

Seeded wholegrain tortilla with caramelised onion hummus, grated carrot, grated red cabbage, chopped raw beet root, sweet pickle, sunflower & hemp seeds

Seeded wholegrain tortilla with caramelised onion hummus, grated carrot, grated red cabbage, chopped raw beet root, sweet pickle, sunflower & hemp seeds

 

… when I discovered that the theme for this month’s WIAW parties is ‘Going Green’!  My choice of food colour was all wrong! :/

But no worries, I’m back this week with a recipe for a dish that’s very green indeed… Leek and Watercress Soup.  I’ve mentioned this soup a couple of times on the blog already as it’s one of Lil’ L’s all-time favourite soups.  He’s been eating it since he was a toddler!  A couple of my readers have requested the recipe and I do apologise for how long it’s taken me to get round to posting it.  I’ve got a serious backlog of recipes to post this year, but I’m slowly getting there!

Watercress & Leek Soup - 500 copy

For those of you that may be concerned that watercress is too peppery for kids, rest assured that when cooked in this soup, the pepperiness of the watercress becomes very subtle indeed.  The addition of potatoes contributes to the soup’s mild flavour, as well as giving it a lovely, creamy texture, without the need for milk or cream.

Here’s how I make it…

And finally, before I go, I would just like to show you one of my latest green food obsessions…  Edamame (Soya) Beans!

edamame-beans-look-younger-14062011

[Source]

I can’t believe that I only discovered these beans last month! How on earth did it take me so long? My friend ordered them as a starter when we met for lunch in London and I proceeded to devour the whole bowl!

Back home in Bath, I’ve discovered that Waitrose sell fresh edamame beans on their sushi bar, and in bags in the frozen vegetable section.  I much prefer the unshelled beans.  There’s something really satisfying about popping them out.  Lil’ L loves them too, so I’ve been adding them to his lunch box as a ‘treat’ 😉

As well as being packed with vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, soya beans are also a great source of protein.  If you’re interested in reading more about their health benefits, the Vegetarian and Vegan Foundation have produced an informative 60 page booklet that’s available to download for free.

The Soya Story

I love the fact that even at my old age 😉  I’m still discovering new foods.

Are there any foods that you’ve recently discovered that you love?

 

 

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Filed under Healthy Snacking, Lunches & Light Dinners, Soups

Sweet Beet “Love” Soup

With its sweet, earthy flavour and deep purple colour, I have always been strongly attracted to beets.  In my childhood, my favourite salad ingredient was my Dad’s home grown beetroot, freshly pulled from the garden.

beetroot-uprooted copy

 [Source]

But little did I know as a child how good they were for my health.  I only recently discovered that beets are actually a super food.  Well I never!  Here’s what I’ve learned…

1. Beets are packed with vitamins and minerals
They contain a huge array of nutrients, including potassium, magnesium, iron, phosphorus, vitamins A, B & C, beta-carotene, beta-cyanine and folic acid.

2. Beets are rich in antioxidants which help to protect against disease
Beets are a very good source of antioxidants vitamin C and manganese.  They also contain a powerful group of antioxidants called betalains, which can help in the prevention of cancer, heart disease, diabetes and inflammation. (It’s the betalains that give beets their deep red colour).  The nitrates contained in beets can also help to lower blood pressure.

3. Beets cleanse the body
Beets are a great detoxifier, tonic for the liver and blood purifier.

4. Beets help your mental health
Beets, like chocolate, contain trytophan, a substance which is known to relax the mind and create a sense of well-being.  The betalains contained in beets have also been used in certain treatments of depression.

5. Beets boost our brain power
Beetroot contains high concentrations of nitrates, which are converted in the body into nitric oxide.  This helps open blood vessels in the body, increasing blood flow and oxygen.  Nitrites also increase blood flow to the brain, which may help to prevent dementia.

6. Beets are energy boosters
Beets are a great source of complex carbs and slow-release energy.  The natural nitrates found in beets also help to increase our oxygen intake and energy levels.

7. Beets enhance our physical performance
Studies have shown that the nitrates in beets can enhance physical endurance.  In one study, cyclists who drank 500 ml of beetroot juice were able to ride up to 20% longer.

8. Beets are great for weight management
Beets are high in complex carbs and fibre, but low in calories, which makes them the perfect food for weight management.

And finally, did you know that…

9. Beets are Nature’s Viagra!
The Romans used beets medicinally as an aphrodisiac, and science has proven that beets are indeed a natural Viagra.  Their nitrate content increases blood flow in all areas of the body.  Beets also contain high amounts of boron, which is directly related to the production of human sex hormones.

If you wish to know more, there’s a clip of Dr Oz talking about the health benefits of beets (including number 9!) here.

Getting in the Mood for Love with …

Sweet Beet Soup!

With its deep red colour and wonderful mood enhancing properties, I reckon beetroot would make a wonderful addition to any romantic meal that you might have planned for your loved ones this evening 😉

On tonight’s menu for us, is a starter of Sweet Beet Soup.  Until recently, I’d only ever eaten beetroot in salad but, inspired by Candy’s beautiful blog post called ‘Simple Pleasures’ I was inspired to try my hand at making a beet soup.

Candy kindly allowed me to share her beet soup photo. Isn’t it stunning?

Sweet Beet 'Love' Soup

And perfect for Valentines!

You must check out Candy’s post.  It is such a beautiful read!

For my beet soup, I chose to add sweet potato.  As well as adding sweetness and additional nutrients, I find it gives soups a wonderful, silky texture (without the need to add cream or milk).  Furthermore, with the addition of the potato, I find that a bowl of soup is filling on its own, without the need to add a side dish of bread.

For protein, additional flavour, textures and nutrients, I add a sprinkling of shelled hempseeds, lightly toasted pumpkin seeds and dried dill.

Here’s how I make it…

[This recipe has been submitted to Ricki Heller’s #Wellness Weekend]

So I’ve got the starter and dessert sorted for tonight’s meal, just got to decide on the main course now!

Are you a fan of Beets? What’s your favourite way of serving them? 

Have a wonderful Valentine’s Day everyone xx

p.s. It’s the last day to enter my Valentine’s Raw Chocolate Giveaway (ends midnight GMT tonight).  I’ve been overwhelmed by all the beautiful comments I’ve received on this giveaway.  Thank you so much guys! You really have made my week!  Since there have been so many entries, I’ve decided to make another batch of chocolates, and I’ll select 3 winners in total.  I’ll post details of the winners on FB and Twitter tomorrow, and also email directly.
Good luck everyone xx

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Filed under Lunches & Light Dinners, Soups